Wireless connectivity is not only important in our personal lives, but for business productivity as well. Designing a functional, yet robust Wi-Fi network has become an essential part of IT operations.
When introducing a wireless infrastructure into your network, understanding your environment and business needs is essential step towards a successful implementation.
1) Know Your Devices
The first step towards a successful implementation is understanding the type of devices that will be connecting to your wireless network.
These devices may include:
- Laptops (Mac/PC)
- Smartphones & Tablets (Android/iOS)
- IoT devices
- Barcode scanners
- Lighting & Environmental Controls
- Security Cameras
- Audio-Visual Conferencing Equipment
…just to name a few.
Understanding the type of devices will help you to identify the protocols and signal types these devices require in order to have stable and effective network connectivity.
2) Know Your Environment
Having a clear understanding of environment in which your Wi-Fi network will reside is arguably the most critical component of network design.
Wireless design can vary wildly depending on if your deployment is for a warehouse, a hospital, a school, a hotel, or an event space.
An engineer that is designing your network should assist you in identifying some key points, prior to offering you a final design proposal. These points would include:
- A clear understanding of the layout of the workspace in which the wireless network will be deployed
- Collecting information regarding the composition of materials in the walls, ceilings, floors, and windows
- Identifying materials, items, or equipment which may affect signal stability – such as microwaves, metal shelving, lighting, or electrical generators.
- Researching the surrounding area to identify if there are any external environmental factors which may need to be addressed – such as Radar from Police Stations or Airports
3) Know Your Users
The kinds of users who are accessing your wireless network should also be considered in your overall network design. This may not only include staff and employees, but potential clients and guests as well.
The wireless infrastructure should be designed in such a way as to provide a stress-free connection experience while maintaining stable connectivity.
An engineer should help you to test and confirm this experience while also ensuring that your connections remain stable, even in the most demanding situations (lecture/event halls, auditoriums, gymnasiums, etc.).
4) Know Your Business Needs
No two situations are exactly the same, so utilizing a standard boiler-plate implementation is not often the best methodology in designing a wireless network. Identifying the kinds of applications that your users are most likely to use on a regular basis is key.
In wireless design, finding the right balance between speed, stability, and stress-free connectivity can often be a challenge.
An engineer should work with you to help identify the applications and types of network traffic that should be prioritized over other to help keep your environment and business operations running smoothly.
5) Know Your Security Requirements
Security has become an ever-increasing critical component for network operations. Ensuring that only users who have been properly authenticated and authorized have access to your wireless network is one of the most important aspects of network design.
Depending on your business requirements, the amount of configuration required to secure your network may be incredibly complex.
An engineer designing your network will help you to achieve the following:
- Working with your Legal, HR, and Compliance teams to ensure that the correct security protocols are in place for your business in accordance with local and regional laws
- Implementing a design that not only secures your business’ critical data, but ensures that user’s personal data is also not compromised or logged without their prior knowledge
- Ensuring that access to and activity on the wireless network is properly logged
- Configuring readable and actionable alerts to inform you of any potential threats or compromises
6) Know Your Back-End Network
A wireless network is only as good as the physical back-end that is supporting it.
No matter how good your wireless network design is, if your back-end network is slow or unsecure, it will have a negative impact on your wireless network’s performance.
An engineer should work with you or your existing IT administrator to ensure that the proper back-end network infrastructure is in place prior to implementation.
7) Know Your Budget
Cost is always a factor in any IT infrastructure decision and should not be taken lightly.
It is quite a common occurrence that some think that purchasing a large quantity of wireless access points or purchasing the most powerful wireless devices would be an effective solution for the wireless coverage needs.
This is most definitely NOT the case.
Over-deployment in a wireless setup can lead to other issues that can have a negative impact on network performance.
In addition, it is also not always in your business’ best interest to implement the latest wireless network equipment, as many new devices on the market have not been time-tested enough to ensure proper stability.
An experienced engineer will help you to save costs by:
- Creating and verify network simulation which adheres to Wireless Network Design Best Practices, prior to onsite implementation
- Explaining the wireless network design that has been created based on your business needs, and identifying areas that can be adjusted
- Not only providing quotations for required hardware and software, but helping you to understand the pros and cons of the devices chosen
- Identifying running costs, such as operation and security licensing, software upgrades, and hardware support
- Working with your business to estimate short or long-term business growth plans, and to design a wireless network implementation plan to match
Proper wireless network design can be a challenge to get right, and expert advice and consultation is highly recommended. systemsGo has both the expertise and experience to assist in finding and implementing the best and cost-effective solution for your business needs. To discover how systemsGo can help, our consultants are ready to assist.